Two local high school juniors have been selected by Hardy Telecommunications for an all-expenses-paid trip to our nation’s capital.
Moorefield High Junior Benjamin Shirk and East Hardy High Junior Madalynn Payne will spend May 31-June 4 in Washington, D.C., attending the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour, said Hardy Marketing and Human Resource Director Derek Barr.
“We’re delighted to offer this unique opportunity to Ben and Madalynn,” Derek said. “It was clear from their applications and from the school representatives we talked to that both are serious, well rounded students.”
The FRS Youth Tour is a four-day trip during which students from rural areas all over the United States have the opportunity to tour our nation’s capital and learn more about the telecommunications industry. More than 100 students typically take part. Hardy sponsors two students for the tour and pays all basic expenses, including hotel, meals, and transportation.
The agenda for this year’s FRS Youth Tour has the group visiting the Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, National Cathedral, Newseum, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, and Mount Vernon.
Benjamin, who currently serves on Hardy’s Youth Advisory Board, wrote in his application that he would enjoy meeting other youth from around the country at the FRS Youth Tour.
“I also desire to gain knowledge and broaden my horizon by engaging amongst professional leaders and other youth. I have always loved traveling and have always wanted to tour the capital of the U.S.A.,” he said.
Madalynn wrote that the Youth Tour would allow her to see more of Washington, D.C., than she’s previously had the opportunity to see.
“I would like to go on the Youth Tour because I have only seen the Smithsonian Museums. The youth tour seems like a wonderful opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., learn more about telecommunications, and meet new people,” she said.
Derek said the students spend a lot of time sightseeing, but the tour also is educational. The students visit the Federal Communications Commission and get a chance to ask questions about issues important to rural telecommunications providers like Hardy.
“Many of the new federal rules and regulations in our industry have not been favorable to small companies serving rural areas,” he said. “The students get a chance to see the challenges we face and make it known that rural students deserve the same opportunities as urban students.”
Established in 1994 by NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association, the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that promotes, educates and advocates rural telecom issues in order to sustain and enhance the quality of life within communities throughout rural America.